ArtsEd Washington and PTA deliver Arts Smarts to parents and families

smARTS for Students includes details on the skills children develop through arts education
Feb 01, 2013

In continuing efforts to build support, awareness, and action around the provision of arts education for all students in Washington state, ArtsEd Washington and the Washington State PTA have collaborated to produce a comprehensive arts education advocacy handbook for parents, families, and caregivers.

Now available online, the smARTS for Students guide delivers arts education information, tips, best practices, and tools in a dynamic, easy-to-use format.

The booklet was funded in part through support by the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and is supported by a supplemental website – – which is hosted through ArtsEd Washington. Visitors to the site can access a smARTS for Students feedback survey, as well as a wealth of additional arts education information, tools, and resources.

smARTS for Students includes details on the skills children develop through arts education, the demand for creative capacities in the new economy, and an overview of the many positive outcomes for students receiving an education in the arts.

The handbook features dynamic photographs of arts learning in action, which were provided by local public schools, and artwork produced by students as part of the Washington State PTA’s Reflections program.

“The primary goal of our joint effort is to help parents and families learn more about why the arts are a vital component of a complete education,” said Una McAlinden, Executive Director for ArtsEd Washington. “We want to increase their knowledge about the direct link between the arts and the 21st Century capacities needed for success and empower Washington parents and families with the confidence to actively support and be involved in their child’s education and especially to speak out in support of the important arts learning that is required by our state.”

In Washington, the arts (defined as dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) are part of basic education and a required core subject for all students. State law mandates that all school districts teach and measure student progress in the arts; however, data shows that arts learning varies from district to district, from school to school, and even classroom to classroom.

This means children are missing out on this essential learning that, as the research shows, is vital in the development of well-rounded, fully engaged citizens who can effectively tackle as yet unimagined opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

smARTS for Students is a starting point for parents, families, and caregivers to understand the benefits the arts bring to their children and give them confidence to start opening doors, engaging in arts education conversations, and working with other parents, teachers, and educational leaders to fully equip our next generation of citizens. Suggested activities and actions outlined in the guide range from a simple chat with a teacher at curriculum night to more involved interactions such as meeting with elected officials.

“Washington State PTA is pleased to partner with ArtsEd Washington in developing this valuable tool,” said State PTA President Novella Fraser from Federal Way. “It’s important that all students have a well-rounded education that includes learning in the arts.”

To access the full handbook, smARTS for Students feedback survey, and additional arts education information visit


About ArtsEd Washington

ArtsEd Washington is a nonprofit organization in the state exclusively dedicated to creating systemic change in how arts education is perceived, funded, and taught in our schools. ArtsEd WA focuses on building the capacity of schools and districts to include arts education as part a complete basic education for all K-12 students.

ArtsEd Washington is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network.


About the Washington State PTA

Founded in 1905, the Washington Congress of Parents and Teachers, better known as the Washington State PTA, is the largest and one of the oldest volunteer organizations in the state, with more than 140,000 members in more than 900 local units across the state, all focused on our vision that every child’s potential becomes a reality.

More information about Washington State PTA is on its website,

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